VW Offers Diesel Owners Cash; EPA Adds Porsche to Violators’ List
This week, Volkswagen of America said it will offer a prepaid Visa loyalty card worth $500 to owners of VW diesel models with the illegal emissions software, according to officials. A second $500 prepaid Visa card will also be provided to use at VW dealerships. The “goodwill” package also will include three years of free 24-hour roadside assistance. Audi may introduce a similar owner package. To find out more about the new offering and for eligibility, owners can visit www.vwdieselinfo.com.
In related news, last week Porsche was added to the list of VW Group brands with models violating the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a second notice of violation (NOV) to Porsche and its North American unit alleging that some 2014-2016 models equipped with 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder diesel engines were equipped with illegal emissions software.
Models on the list with 3.0-liter diesel engines that may be non-compliant are: 2015 Porsche Cayenne, 2014 VW Touareg, 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5. In a statement, the EPA charges that the 3.0-liter diesel engine releases NOx emissions that are up to nine times greater than the legal standard. This notice covers nearly 10,000 more diesel passenger cars already sold in the U.S. since the 2014 model year. It also includes some 2016 vehicles.
The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are continuing with their investigation following the first NOV issued on September 18 regarding the defeat device that was installed on some 482,000 diesel VW and Audi vehicles with certain 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder diesel engines from the 2009-2015 model years.
At the same time, Mazda will postpone bringing diesel cars to the U.S. for 2016, according to Automotive News, while the EPA develops stricter steps to test fuel economy and emissions. In addition, at the recent Tokyo Motor Show, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told reporters that the Volkswagen debacle has made diesel technology vulnerable, and will not make diesel a more popular choice in the U.S. or in Japan.
A few more highlights related to the Volkswagen “defeat” device scandal:
- The German automaker will begin fixing the first of the 482,000 non-compliant cars in the U.S.—including Audi A3s, Golfs, Jettas, and Passats from model years 2009 to 2015—in January. Older models will require hardware changes and could take longer.
- Attorneys general from 45 states have joined U.S. federal agencies to review and seek compensation from Volkswagen for installing false software programs that allow much higher diesel NOx emissions outside of tests than allowed by federal clean air standards, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.
- Texas already filed a lawsuit alleging that Volkswagen violated consumer protection and clean air standards and is asking for compensation for owners of 32,000 VW and Audi diesel vehicles registered that may also include $20,000 for each violation of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
- VW must deal with some 325 consumer lawsuits in the U.S.
- Tennessee lawmakers held a hearing recently to discuss the issue of the state providing hundreds of millions of incentive and tax dollars to VW for its Chattanooga auto plant to see if the state can recoup money if the emissions scandal threatens jobs.
- The Federal Trade Commission is looking into wrongdoing and the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of VW and its officials as far as the illegality of installing the “defeat” device diesel emissions reduction software to only activate during tests, according to media reports.
- In financial news, Volkswagen Group reported its first third-quarterly operating loss in more than 15 years.